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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unseen Evil (2001) Horror Protective Spirit

Unseen Evil (2001) - This a lower budget film about Native American burial site that has a spirit that seemed to be imprisoned by a tribe centuries ago. A place where the spirit possibly one of the four eagles that are Komeshtam'ho is incarcerated for some unknown reason. It is possible that the creature called Unseen is there to protect the riches buried in this cave. This part of the story was shown instead of explained and because of that it could be interpreted many ways. The whole setup may be a fiction, an finding much information about this supposed creation myth was all but impossible so the viewer should go along with the intro text of the film and take the scenes for what is presented. Opening after these scenes it is the 1990s and an expedition is setting out into the California hills to try to find that burial ground. What seems as straight up academic research quickly becomes a treasure hunt. Jenson has done the research necessary to find the site in the opening of the film. He is determine to find it but instead of study it to steal the gold and jewels of the site and retire to an island in the sun.He puts together a team which some of them know his plan while others do not.
  Our group consists of leader Dr Peter Jensen (Richard Hatch), Archaeologist Kate (Cindi Braun), Guide Dana (Cindy Pena) and two hired hands Mike (Frank Ruotolo) and Williams (Jere Jon). Very quickly into the hike to the site do the dynamics of the group change. Starting as a legitimate quest for knowledge signs seep into the behavior of the men that let the audience know that something is not right. Stopping at the rangers station Dana is friends with Ranger Chuck MacNeil (Tim Thomerson) and chats him up. What she does not know is that when he goes inside with Williams that things change. Wanting to keep things secret Williams knocks the Ranger out and cuffs him to a post. Now here you have a group with perfect cover, a couple of believable professionals in Dana and Kate but the men need to attack a Ranger creating a reason for the law to be involved. If they had just driven away their chances of pulling of the grave robbery would have been better. But with hot headed Willams in the group. there cover is immediately blown well at least for the viewers. Note that the one black character in the film is the hardest criminal of the bunch, hmmm..
  When resting on the hike and in the most awkward of set pieces Dana finds the gun that Jensen is carrying the gig is up and the women learn that this crew is not on the up and up. Its a bit too late though and at gunpoint and with hands tied the women are forced to participate. So the tension created when the viewers knew the expedition was a scam but the women in the group did not dissipates and is replaced by the tension of becoming prisoners. All of this will be trumped when they rob the burial ground and are attacked by the "Unseen".
  Survival film from that point on,  there is a bunch of this and that attempts to escape the creature. There is no mystery about anything after the creature makes its first kill of a group member. Seeking depth in the characters comes across hollow and the film is nothing particularly interesting. Will Jensen get away with his loot? Will the good characters survive? Will the creature get them all? Sure there are these questions as well as the ones that don't make sense like since this creature has been locked up in a cave for generations how is it that it knows to attack the groups van stranding them? The all too convenient return the treasure to the cave is the only way this one could have gone. Not particularly thought provoking or deep this simple story falls flat. Kate apparently can read hieroglyphs so well that all the exposition we need is given to us with ease. Then the ending and not the ending was too tiring to want to explain. No recommendation for this one from this blog. The choppy style and flat acting just dooms it. A one dimensional story with little subtext leaves the viewer just watching a series of some what connected scenes playing out a fantasy story but a story not really fleshed out.

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